New houses for estate workers, uplift of living standard essential - President, PM
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have pointed out the need to build houses for low income earners and plantation sector workers in keeping with accepted living standards.
Speaking at a discussion with relevant stakeholders at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, the President pointed out that what should happen is that living standards of the environment that these individuals live in must be uplifted. He pointed out that by assigning the design of the houses to the State Engineering Corporation, the standard and quality of construction can be maintained.
The President and the Premier were briefed about the Indian funded project which envisioned the construction of 4,000 houses for plantation workers initiated in 2016. They were told that only 669 houses have been constructed thus far and due to practical problems with the infrastructure, construction has been further delayed.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that the private plantation companies should also fulfill their duties in line with the government’s program to uplift the living standards of the plantation community.
The Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure State Ministry with the assistance of the Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, Housing and Sports must undertake the task to uplift the living standards of the estate community, the President said. He also emphasized the need to develop pre-school, primary colleges and clinics to cater to the growing population.
The importance of creating job opportunities in vocational training for young people living in plantation areas so they can obtain NVQ level certification was also discussed at length. The President said that the government should take over the 438 estate related health centers and implement a standardised service for the estate community as swiftly as possible. The President emphasised that all development activities should be carried out in such a way that the estate and the village are not separated.